The Year Ahead

For classical musicians, Labor Day may as well be renamed Labor Starts Now Day.  After a slow-motion summer at idyllic festival retreats or in the comfort of one’s home studio, the symphonic season wakes up in September.  Luckily for us, our labor of love is damn fun, this music making.  Here’s an overview:

ALTERNATIVE ENERGY at Carnegie Hall, Toronto Symphony, & beyond

Carnegie Hall opens their season with the Riccardo Muti & the Chicago Symphony giving the NY-premiere of Alternative Energy.  This time-traveling ‘energy symphony,’ which starts in a 19th Century Midwestern junkyard and moves through ever more powerful forces of energy, will also be performed by the Toronto Symphony & at Ann Arbor’s University Musical Society.  Here’s a review from the California tour.


This year marks the midpoint of my 4-year post as composer-in-residence with the Chicago Symphony, and a focal point of my activities is curating the exploding MusicNOW series with Anna Clyne.  These concerts have been bringing crowds of up to a thousand to experience imaginative offerings of new music (followed by teeming post-concert parties featuring local DJs, pizza, & beer).  Also on the DJ/classical front : Mercury Soul returns for a third straight year to the Chicago Symphony, coming to the city’s hottest club – Metro – after this summer’s successful first partnership.


• A new violin concerto will be premiered by the incredible Anne Akiko Meyers at the Pittsburgh Symphony, which hosts me as this year’s Composer of the Year.  This astonishing orchestra will sprinkle lots of my music throughout the season, host a Mercury Soul at the slick Static club in April, and premiere a new work for chamber orchestra.

• The Phoenix Symphony premieres a new song cycle in early 2013 under Michael Christie, deepening a continuing a long-lasting partnership that is almost 14 years in the making, and the will also perform my helicopter piece Desert Transport later in the season.


Older works continue to lead busy lives: the Houston Ballet premieres a new ballet based on The B-Sides, the Chicago Symphony and a variety of others perform my ‘water symphony’ Liquid Interface, and Mothership continues flying around the symphonic airways (Portland to Pittsburgh to beyond).  Every work’s birth is exciting, but for me, the most thrilling thing is to my children grow up — traveling to new places, played by new people, and (sob) doing just fine without me!  So, enjoy the offerings this year, and stay tuned to my Twitter and Facebook pages for the most up-to-date info.